Pioneer Savings Bank

A Romanian settlement grew and flourished along Detroit Avenue between West 45th Street and West 65th Street from the 1900s to the middle of the century. The self-contained neighborhood housed a variety of businesses both owned by and catering to the needs of the surrounding ethnic neighborhood. Within walking distance, one could find Romanian social clubs, churches, grocery stores, butcher shops, bakers, doctors, restaurants, taverns, a barber, a bookstore, a confectioners, and the Roumanian Savings and Loan. Originally located at 5501 Detroit Avenue, this bank was located at the heart of the West Side Romanian community.

Opened in 1922, the bank was a symbol of an era of stabilization for the Romanian community. With immigration into the United States severely limited due to post war quotas, the transient working community that commonly lived in boarding houses thinned out. Many Romanians left once they had achieved their goal of accumulating enough money to return home and buy land. Others that emigrated to avoid persecution at the hands of the Austro-Hungarian Empire were drawn back by the promise of freedom offered by the newly reunited Greater Romania. The Romanian population of Cleveland was cut in half. Those that chose to stay increasingly began to invest in their future in the city. Higher wages earned during World War I enabled many Romanian immigrants to accumulate money, which was often spent on building homes or investing in businesses. The Roumanian Savings and Loan, created by and for the Romanian community, helped offer immigrants this opportunity.

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